For those moviegoers expecting to see the same ol’ Vince Vaughn rambling nonsense for kicks and giggles, you’re in for a surprise that might make you rethink paying to see one of his films again. ‘The Dilemma’ is a comedic drama that has more drama than one would like from their Vaughn films. There are some hard laughs, but very quickly you’ll experience that this isn’t what you paid for.
The movie centers on a commitment-phobic guy (Vince Vaughn) who struggles with two dilemmas: whether to pop the question to his long time girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly) and whether or not to tell his best friend (Kevin James) that his wife (Winona Ryder) is having an affair.
‘The Dilemma’ seems to be an experimental project for Vince ‘The Rambler’ Vaughn. Here he revisits his old dramatic chops, and even though he doesn’t shame himself, it’s clear that he cannot excel within the frames of the genre. Interestingly enough, Vaughn has worked in various dramatic films before (Psycho, A Cool Dry Place, Return to Paradise, South of Heaven, West of Hell), but never with real success. The harsh mashup of comedy and drama here never really finds a harmonious balance and instead seems abrasive and distracting at times. The Coen Brothers are masters at merging both categories masterfully (Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona), but director Ron Howard (Apollo 13 The Da Vinci Code), a virtuoso in his own right, seems astray at best. When you look at his body of work and you look at this movie, it is as if they are two completely different directors. The Howard touch is nowhere to be seen.
Screenwriter Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) concocted a script with some hilarity, uncomfortable drama and much unwelcomed filler. The stuffing throughout the second act was blatant and just intolerable. There was no need to over-flesh the obvious theme of the film.
The cast had some highlights and some low lights, one of the lows being Channing Tatum. The up and comer, who plays the lover to Ryder, had no business working in a comedy, even if it was one with dramatic tones. Each scene where he had to sound funny or look funny was amateurish. A definite miscast. Vaughn, James and Ryder were very good when they dealt with their independent scenes. In Vaughn’s case, the toast scene monologue was a classic. His rambling, though old and unoriginal, had a nasty and hostile bite to it this time around. That was fun to watch.
Comedic dramas are populating theaters more than ever and we as audiences are going to have to get used to our comedians wanting to expand their range to include drama (remember Ben Stiller doing the awful ‘Greenberg’ or Adam Sandler doing Funny People). Therefore we have to choose wisely and The Dilemma is definitely not a wise selection.
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